The three-masted Thermopylae holds a significant place in Australia's maritime history. She was one of the fastest and most renowned clippers engaged in the wool trade between England and Australia in the late 19th century.
On Thermopylae’s maiden voyage, she sailed to Melbourne in just 60 days breaking the record of this journey. It still remains the fastest trip under sail and only steamers had previously matched such speeds. This three-masted sailing ship model is fully rigged, furnished with beautiful sails and amazing details. Together with the Cutty Sark, the model of Thermopylae recalls the historic rivalry of the clippers that thrilled the world and brought fame to their masters on epoch-making oceanic voyages.
- Overall dimensions of the model are 85cm L x 19cm W x 68cm H 1:76 Scale
- This model is fully assembled and ready to display (NOT a kit).
- Entirely hand built by using individual wooden planks in hull construction.
- High-quality wood ensures that the model will withstand variations in humidity and temperature.
- Anchors and decorative fixtures and intricate details are sculpted in metal.
- Sails are handmade with fine linen and rigging lines that vary in texture.
- Meticulous painting matches the actual colour of the lower hull of the real Thermopylae.
- This replica is built according to scale from original plans and pictures.
- The model comes with a solid wood base, a metal nameplate and the history of the Thermopylae ship.
Thermopylae was built by Walter Hood for the Aberdeen White Star Line and was launched on 19 August 1868. She was designed by Bernard Weymouth for the China tea trade to carry expensive perishable cargo quickly around the world. On her maiden voyage from London to Melbourne, captained by Robert Kimball, she made a speed record with 60 days, still the fastest trip under sail. On her continued voyages, she performed impressively from Newcastle, NSW to Shanghai in 31 days, and from Shanghai to London in 91 days.
The Cutty Sark was built the following year to compete with Thermopylae in bringing back the new season’s tea from China. In 1872 Thermopylae loaded a cargo tea alongside with Cutty Sark in Shanghai, then on 26 June, two vessels set off in the race to be the first ship back to London. After racing each other for two weeks the Cutty Sark lost her rudder after having passed the Sunda Straits.
Thermopylae finally arrived in London only seven days ahead of her rival. Her record day’s run was 380 statute miles, a feat exceeded by no sailing ship before.
From 1882 she took part in the Australian wool trade.